by Andy McKinley
I have been using this "050" distributor for the past four+ years. It is Bosch part number 230 081 050. It ends with "050", just like the "009" distributors end with 009, and the "010's" end with 010.
No, this is not a stock distributor for any VW. Most Bosch books don't even list it. Most VW specific vendors don't have a clue, and can't provide tune-up parts for it (the ones that are familiar with the "050" don't seem to have any problem at all, tho).
This is strictly a mechanical advance distributor. [Editor's Note: there are "050" suffix vacuum canister distributers--Andy discusses the typcial mechanical version here]
Its advance characteristics are similar to the Brazilian manufactured "009" (there are some that were made in Germany as well, and they say "Germany" on the bottom of the can, and have different advance characteristics, too). The "050" has a smoother advance curve (flatter line on a graph of rpm/degrees advance). The advance kicks in at around a hundred RPM lower than the "009," making it more suitable for use in a van. The "050" also advances to a greater degree, around 26 degrees at ~3100 rpm, while the "009" poops out at ~2650 RPM with a total advance of about 21 degrees. These numbers are approximate, and will vary between distributors and reference literature.
Part number I have (stamped on the part) are:
Cap-231 081 413
rotor-231 081 628
points-01 011 (I'm running Pertronics point eliminators, which required slight modification due to interference with the rotor).
I find the "050" is more driveable than the "009" Brazilian unit that I keep as a backup. Neither is as driveable as the vacuum unit, but since I'm running dual Dellortos I can't drop in the stock vacuum unit for a direct comparison. It is possible that the Dellortos may be coloring the difference between apparent driveability, but I doubt it, since they're only 36mms. Power is WAY up over the stock components. My otherwise stock 1800 can whup any stock four cylinder Jeep (and probably most other four cylinder cars/vans/suv's in the same weight range) on acceleration (standing or high gear) and grade climbing.
BTW, I paid ~$80 bucks for my rebuilt "050." Kinda haigh, in retrospect, but they musta done i right. Still no signs of play.